One of the less-examined key moments of Sunday’s Eagles loss at Pittsburgh was the 57-yard field goal Jake Elliott just barely missed, wide right with 3 minutes, 18 seconds remaining. The kick would have given the Eagles their first lead, at 32-31, and who knows what might have been different from there?
Yes, Ben Roethlisberger subsequently hit Chase Claypool with a 35-yard touchdown pass, setting the final score at 38-29, but the Steelers got the ball at their 47 following the miss. They probably would have had to work a lot harder to score after an Elliott kickoff.
Eagles special teams coordinator Dave Fipp talked to reporters Tuesday and was asked about the kick, which would have been the longest field goal ever made at Heinz Field. The record there is 55 yards. It would not have been a career-long for Elliott, who famously hit from 61 yards to beat the Giants at the Linc in 2017. Elliott has 11 50-plus-yard field goals.
“I felt really good about him hitting that kick," Fipp said. "I hear you when you say that’s one of the longest field goals, or the longest field goal in Heinz Field, but I would say that that adds into it. You think about that to some degree. But at the end of the day, what we really go off of is how a guy is playing on that day, in that stadium, with those conditions, that wind, that temperature, all that stuff.
"Jake was really confident going into that game. His pregame warmup was really good. He hit the ball really well going in that direction. We chose the side of the field in the second half, so that we would have that side in the fourth quarter. He was hitting the ball better that way in pregame. He felt real good about it. He had hit a number of deep kicks on that side of the field right there in the pregame. I think the last one that he took was a 58-yarder, and he had made all of those.
"I felt real confident in him. Going into the kick, I had said that to Coach [Doug Pederson], in that situation in the game, and we ended up pushing it a little bit wide right. At the end of the day, we didn’t get the job done. It’s our job to do that. We all know that. I’m glad we got the opportunity. I’m glad Coach believed in us. I’m obviously disappointed that we didn’t get the job done for him. I’ve still got a lot of confidence in Jake going forward, and I think he’s striking the ball really well and in a really good spot.
“I think he’s got two misses on the year, and both of them are in the 50-yard range. I think one at 53 and now one of 57, and I think he made a 54-yarder there,” at home against the Bengals. "So, I’ve got a lot of confidence in him, and feel great about where he’s at, where that group is at. Obviously, on that play we did come up, not short, but a little wide right. "
Elliott is 7-for-9 on field goals this season, the misses coming from 53 yards in the opener at Washington and 57 on Sunday.
The Eagles waived safety Grayland Arnold and defensive end Casey Toohill, presumably to move them to the practice squad. Interesting decision to expose Toohill, their seventh-round draft pick this year.
The team also activated the 21-day practice window for safety Will Parks, as he returns from injured reserve, and protected two practice squad players this week, TE Jason Croom and DB Elijah Riley. That means they can’t be signed off the Eagles' practice squad by other teams.